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What's on in the world of business this week

The coming week will see a clutch of Swiss blue chip companies releasing their annual results for 1999. Among them are the food group, Nestlé, the industrial group, Georg Fischer, and the chemicals company, Ciba.

This content was published on February 20, 2000 - 09:49

The coming week will see a clutch of Swiss blue chip companies releasing their annual results for 1999. Among them are the food group, Nestlé, the industrial group, Georg Fischer, and the chemicals company, Ciba.

The Schaffhausen-based comany, Georg Fischer, will be first to reveal its figures on Tuesday. A survey of analyst forecasts predicts net profits for 1999 down 17 per cent at SFr119 million, with sales up 3 per cent at SFr3.1 billion.

Last Thursday the group announced that it had received an order from Germany's Volkswagen worth more than SFr200 million. The order is the largest received by Georg Fischer's automotive products group and covers the production and delivery of cast iron chassis.

The speciality chemicals group, Ciba, will disclose its latest figures for last year on Wednesday. The Basel-based company has had a difficult year, but business picked up at the end of 1999.

"Asia is picking up very well and in the United States we have continued growth," Ciba's chairman and chief executive officer, Rolf Meyer, said last November. "In Europe, demand is stagnating, but if it picks up we could have a nice growth push."

The staff has also seen the situation improving. After having an annual outing cancelled due to cost considerations, Ciba agreed to boost overall salaries for Swiss workers by 1.8 per cent, and to make a one-off payment of SFr500 for each member of staff.

At the end of the week, the world's largest food group, Nestlé, will release figures for last year. Analysts say the company's prospects are improving, and the the investment banking group Dresdner Kleinwort Benson has upgraded Nestlé's shares from 'hold' to 'buy'.

The market will also be looking to Swisscom on Monday as it starts its Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) service, bringing the Internet to mobile phone users.

Subscribers will be able to access the Internet and e-mail services via their Swisscom mobile phones. This service is expected to revolutionise the mobile communications market.

By Tom O'Brien.

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